Ordinary Miracle

Ordinary Miracle is a story about two people who meet by chance on a train platform. They’re total strangers and unrelated to each other in any way other than both are traveling and passing through this one station.

The event that caused them to meet was anything but romantic. Separately, they each consider or think that a third person, a man standing by himself at the far end of the train platform, may be  going to take his own life by leaping in front of an oncoming train.

They independently watch him, and as the train approaches, this man edges toward the platform side of the oncoming train. They spring into action and barely pull this man back to safety from a sure death by punching him and wrestling him to the ground.

Later in the Train Master’s office, this man angrily denies any thoughts of suicide. He claims he was beaten and kicked for no reason at all – out of the blue – is how he describes it.

The woman is called Kana Nakashiro and is played by the beautiful actress Yukie Nakama. The man is called Shota Tasaki and is played by Ryou Kase in his first lead role in a Japanese TV Drama Series.

Soon they are excused from further questioning as the man was not injured, or even bruised. They part company at the turnstile;  Shota heads back up for his train, and Kana leaves the station.

Moments later,  Shota rushes down from the upstairs platform after initially boarding his train, and then quickly stepping off. He wants to find Kana. But she’s gone.

Or is she? They later meet by a seemingly random coincidence at a nearby coffee shop shortly after he has given up hope of seeing her again. We of course expected as much – after all, these are the cast headliners – why wouldn’t they meet?

And so begins Ordinary Miracle aka Arifureta Kiseki.  What made each of them suspect this man was harboring suicidal thoughts? That is the premise of this series and the reason why we will continue to watch this drama – hoping their personal mysteries and the emotional scars that each carries will be revealed.

Shota is a construction worker who does plastering.  He lives with his grandfather and father. Kana is employed by a restaurant supplies & equipment firm.  She trains people to use the cooking techniques based on her firm’s appliances. She lives with her parents and her grandmother.  Neither Shota nor Kana appear to be happy, but they have to go about their lives and careers, because even with their insecurities and foibles,  life continues.

This series is a tale of how ordinary people living their lives, who under an unusual happenstance,  meet, grow closer, and help each other heal. The story unfolds slowly and beautifully. There’s no glitter or over glamorization on the screen. This series is about the story, rather than being an actors and actresses’s star vehicle. If you are not familiar with any of the Japanese cast, then this drama will impact you even more, as you’ll come to see it with no predefined expectations.

The director doesn’t employ any video editing gimmicks and the like. Nevertheless, the series is beautifully captured on video, and there are many supremely lovely images that make this story captivating. One of the unusual features of this series are the long takes, and the lack of tight closeups.

This intentionally creates a distancing between we the viewers and the actors. But this makes the words of the screenplay take on added value which will make you appreciate the story even more.  Speaking of which, the screen writer of this drama, Taichi Yamada, walked off with the Japanese equivalent of an Emmy for her script for this series.

This 11 episode series was broadcast on the Fuji-TV network at 10:00 PM on Thursdays beginning on January 08, 2009 through March 19th, 2009. There is a DVD with English, Chinese, and Malay subtitles, available from this California based seller – The Japanese Drama DVD Store (URL below).

http://www.jpdorama.com/JapaneseEng/dvdbox/Arifureta.asp

Also worth noting is that this drama’s theme song is called Dreams Are More Precious (Than Gold) and is sung by Enya. Listen to the song here:

Arifureta Kiseki / Ordinary Miracle

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